A new plan of action for Swanage and Studland Bays has been agreed to help reduce the number of jet ski incidents following growing safety concerns.
The programme of measures including marine police on jet skis, has been coordinated by Dorset Council and involves a number of organisations including Dorset Police, Swanage Coastguard, RNLI, Swanage Town Council and the National Trust.
This comes ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend when temperatures are set to rise and large numbers of people are expected to head to the beach.
Jet skiers in Studland Bay, looking towards Sandbanks
In 2020 the problem was exacerbated
Dorset Council said that in 2020 the problem was exacerbated with the increase in staycation visitor numbers who were using jet skis and small motorised boats, often for the first time.
In addition, like many parts of the Dorset coast, there’s been a growing number of open water swimmers, so care has to be taken to ensure everyone’s safety.
Swimmers and jet skis at South Beach in Studland
The main measures
- Two marine police officers have been trained to use jet skis so they can effectively communicate with jet ski users in the area and deliver jet ski safety. This will include running some police operation days over the summer months.
- Regular patrols by two local water sport companies to actively engage with people on water safety from April to September.
- Dorset Marine Police team to run Operation Seagoing to promote safety over the summer months
- An increase in the number of 5 knot speed marker buoys to clearly distinguish areas where jet ski and motorised boats need to reduce their speed in line with the current pleasure boat byelaw
- Swanage Town Council has closed the Parish Slipway by the Square in Swanage to motorised vehicles to stop the launching of jet skis in this often crowded area
- Display of new signs, along with the distribution of a leaflet and the development of a website to promote key information on water safety
The Swanage Parish Slipway has been closed to vehicles by leaving one of the winter sea defence blocks in place
“We needed to take action”
Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, councillor Ray Bryan said:
“With more people set to visit our beautiful county this summer, we needed to take action to ensure those who wish to use our waters are kept safe. I want to thank all our partners for their hard work in helping keep incidents to a minimum, so everyone can have a good time responsibly.”
Swanage Coastguard station officer, Ian Brown said:
“We are having a big multi-agency push to urge people to keep to the five knot limit. Make sure you respect others in your enthusiasm to get back into the water.
“It’s vital we work together with partners to reduce the risks of incidents between water users in Swanage and Studland”
Swanage Bay and the position of the yellow 5 knot speed marker buoys
“We don’t want to spoil people’s enjoyment”
Police constable Dave Brown from Dorset Marine Police added:
“We hope our SLOW – See, Look, Observe, Watch – campaign message is really clear to everyone. We don’t want to spoil people’s enjoyment, but we do need to have fun safely.”
The key message for jet ski or motorised boat users is:
- See who else is in the water
- Look out for wildlife
- Observe the sea conditions
- Watch your speed
Studland Bay and the position of the yellow 5 knot speed marker buoys